Best practices in providing effective supervision to students with values conflicts

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Recent conscience clause legislation and court cases related to mental health professionals unwilling to provide services to LGBT clients have received significant attention from the professional psychology community. These cases highlight the importance of determining how to prevent and address conflicts between personal values and professional/program expectations. The need for training programs to develop consistent policies regarding such conflicts has been reinforced; however, in addition to developing clear policies and documents, education training programs must decide how to provide effective supervision to students with values conflicts. Previous papers have addressed components of training that may prevent values conflicts, such as using ethical decision-making models or increasing student awareness through readings and videos. These interventions are important but must be supplemented with an intentional developmental focus in clinical supervision. Recent developments in supervision have emphasized a competency-based approach to supervision. In this article we present an argument for integrating developmental and competency approaches to supervision when working with students around values conflicts. The ways in which these approaches can be combined are described, and we then provide several vignettes that illustrate possible supervisory responses to students at different points in their training. We discuss different interventions and benchmarks to use depending on students' progress in their training programs. Finally, we offer recommendations to supervisors for integrating these approaches.

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Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity

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